O'Malley reports traffic deaths down 52% this year
Gov. Martin O'Malley, who says he makes a practice of checking the daily reports from the State Police on mayhem around the state, reports that this morning's statistics show a 52 percent drop in year-to-date traffic fatalities. That means 32 people have died on Maryland roads this year, compared with 66 at this time last year.
"That means 34 lives that have been saved," he told the Maryland Highway Safety Foundation in Annapolis.
The unaudited numbers certainly reflect in part the driving hiatus that was forced on many Marylanders during this month's twin snowstorms, when the state went almost a full week without a traffic death. But that by itself wouldn't explain the entire reduction.
O'Malley suggested that contributing factors include a heightened sense of awareness among drivers of road dangers, stepped-up law enforcement and increased responsiveness to the message that "speed kills."
O'Malley also gave credit to young drivers.
"Children today, young drivers, are acting more responsibly when it comes to the issue of drinking and driving," he said.
O'Malley also gave a strong signal that he would look favorably on a proposal to require ignition interlock devices -- devices that prevent a car from being started if the driver has consumed alcohol -- for all those convicted of drunk driving if the bill reaches his desk. The governor said the measure, a top priority of the foundation and Mothers Against Drunk Driving -- is "probaably a good idea."